It’s not marriage’s fault—some people are bad at marriage. Here’s how you can become good at it right from the very start.
Marriage really is a beautiful thing. I used to think it was a bit pointless, just a piece of paper that allows you an extra tax cut. However, the more I thought about it, the more I learned to appreciate what marriage could be.
Marriage gets a bad rap because most people are really bad at it. It’s not marriage’s fault. It’s the couples’ fault for being neither mature enough nor smart enough to manage.
I used to believe people couldn’t possibly promise to love someone else in 10, 20 years when neither their partners nor they will be the same people they are now. But that’s the point. We know that the future is filled with uncertainty.
Regardless, we still want that promise because it gives us courage to give ourselves to another without reservations.
You may not be able to keep that promise, but you can keep the promise to do your best to be an amazing life partner. That’s all anyone can really ask for. If you’re thinking about tying the knot then be sure that your future life partner to-be can honestly answer these questions to your liking:
1. Why do you love me?
People seem to feel this is a question that doesn’t especially need answering. Most will say we love others simply because we love them — a horrible answer. All people need to know exactly why it is that they love the people they love.
Loving someone is a very selfish act, and it’s okay. You love the person you love for what that person does for you and how he or she makes you feel.
We may all have slightly different answers as to why we love someone, but if we aren’t able to exactly define the parameters of our love, then we’re likely to struggle later on once the initial intensity dies down. If your partner can’t answer why he or she loves you now, then imagine the inevitable uncertainty down the road.
2. Why do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?
“Because I love you” is not a good answer. Life is a journey — one that is best not traveled entirely alone. However, not everyone has the same destination in mind. Wanting to take different pit stops along the route is one thing. Wanting different things out of life is another entirely.
Your partner should be able to tell you what life experiences he or she hopes to share with you. It’s these little goals you set for yourselves that make your life special.
3. Will you do your best to keep the romance alive?
Keeping the romance alive is not an easy task. Yes, it’s all mental, but keeping interest for such a long time is difficult. It takes a lot of work and creativity. It takes the other person regularly trying to please and impress you, which in itself becomes increasingly difficult with each new year.
Romantic love cannot survive on its own; both of you are going to have to maintain it constantly. Is your partner willing to keep the romance as one of his or her main priorities?
4. Will you grow with me, and not away from me?
We may not know exactly where our lives will take us and what we will learn — who we will become — along the way, but we can make a conscious effort to grow closer together and not apart.
Most people grow apart over the years because they feel like they’ve accomplished everything in their relationships that needs accomplishing.
This is one main reason marriages end up being so horrible — people think that there is no greater peak to climb than the one their relationship is already resting on. Marriage shouldn’t be the end, it should be the beginning.
5. Will you stick through the rough times?
The good times are a piece of cake. The difficult times, however, will destroy your relationship if you allow them to. There comes a point in every relationship when you have to make a decision. It’s a decision that, if made, is only made once. You will reach a point where you will either decide you are going to be there for this person for the rest of his or her life, or not.
If you decide you’re going to stick with this person then you can’t allow any tragedy or outside force to shake that decision. This is one of the most important decisions we make in our lives — or, as it often turns out, fail to make decisively. Has your lover made the decision? Have you?
6. Are you willing to lose some battles in order to keep the peace?
The key to a successful marriage is taming your ego. No matter how competitive we are, sometimes you just need to pick your battles. Sometimes the arguments and the stress just aren’t worth it.
What you need to understand is that 99 percent of arguments aren’t arguments over fact, but rather over opinion. An opinion is neither right nor wrong. Sometimes you just have to let things be.
7. Can you promise to put us ahead of everything else?
Life has a lot to offer. And if you’re anything like me, you have a very large appetite. We want everything life has to offer, and then some. The problem is we don’t have enough time to have it all; our lives are too short. We can only pick a few things we consider important and do our best to flourish in those areas.
The beauty of marriage is that it can be used as a base to build the rest of your life on. Your partner should be just that: your partner. Your relationship is the most important thing in your life because it’s what makes the rest of your life possible.
8. Will you be a great parent?
Again, how could anyone know he or she will be a great parent? Easy. You just decide you’re going to be. That’s it. No tricks. No gimmicks. Just a decision and then action.
Some things don’t need too much thinking involved. You’re going to be great because you decided you will be. Will your lover do the same and be a great role model for your children?
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